Monday, June 23, 2008

Common Ground Ministry Update June 23

WHAT’S IN A NAME? Camp “Washington Park” has just completed its 4th full week! The boys decided we should have a name for our summer adventure, so this is the name they chose. Washington Park is the unofficial name of our neighborhood. It is home to the “Washington Park Gangsters”, a loose neighborhood gang. Many of our young boys and older teenagers derive much of their identity from being associated with this neighborhood and this gang even if they aren’t really involved. I have learned much about the ‘loyalty’ of such identity from those in our neighborhood. It is remarkable to me that people can pride-fully claim and defend a territory and yet care very little about the people who suffer in that territory. We wanted to continue to give the boys ownership of the camp and neighborhood through naming the camp and creating their own ways to serve those who live in it. But, our deep desire is that these boys eventually identify with Christ and his ‘body’ above all other ties. What an amazing grip Satan holds when he can deceive many to love and defend a neighborhood (through violent gang fights, drive by shootings, and vandalism) but not the very ‘image of God’ living in that neighborhood. As you know, our vision is to see this grip broken and see the Kingdom of God demonstrated through our boys and girls being redeemed and becoming transformative leaders in our community and in others like ours.

CAMP LIFE!!!We have settled in with 30 boys from our neighborhood from age 6-12. We plan to continue the camp for 6 more weeks, with the last week being a full week of camping at Arrowhead in the mountains of North Carolina. We have five components to our camp: Fun, Food, Bible Study, Community service, and character development. Throughout the week we do a LOT of fun things (skating, swimming, sports, movies, interact with church youth groups, and go on various other field trips). We have become a usual fixture at Ryan’s, Ci Cis, McDonalds, and other kid friendly restaurants during the week. Our bible studies focus on the Creation Story, how sin has affected our neighborhood, families, world, and us personally, and Jesus’ place as Lord and Savior. We split the boys up into two groups for the bible studies (age 6-9, and 10-12).

HERE COMES THE GIRLS!!“Camp Washington Park” just extended to include the girls. As I write this there are 8 young girls back in my living room participating in bible study and some creative arts with Nicole and Delta. They went to the Zoo and to the Planetarium over the last two days. The girls are learning about the creation story in the bible, so they visited these places to help spur their imaginations about God! They have planned two days a week with the girls as a starting point for this phase of our ministry. Please pray for these girls and for Delta and Nicole. They are also beginning a teenage girls and women’s bible study next week.

TRANSPORTATION AND VOLUNTEERS STILL NEEDED!!We still need to find access to another 12 passenger (or more) van. We are willing to rent a van from someone who has one to spare. We also need drivers and help in the camp. If you have some spare time throughout the week and want to come help us, please let us know…

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April Brown said...

My mouth drops every time I read your post! I'm so challenged and encouraged by what you guys are doing!! Thank you for blogging about your ministry...we are praying for you and love hearing how the Lord is using you both!!

The Kelly Family said...

April - hey! Do you have a blog?? I have tried to find it, but can't seem to get to it! i'd love to know how you guys are doing!